“There are books that are suitable for a million people, others for only a hundred. There are even remedies—I mean books—that were written for one person only” – The Little Paris Bookshop
Some books may be suitable for only one person, but I think this one is one that would be suitable for a million by Jean Perdu’s standards. This story touched my heart as I read my way slowly down the Seine river with Perdu, Jordan and Salvo.
“The Little Paris Bookshop” draws you into Perdu’s life with a Parisian bookseller frustrated by a reader who doesn’t know what they ought to be reading, and confounds us with the importance of a dining room table, bringing us to meet Catherine, who leads us to meet the true Jean Perdu.
Goodreads summarized the novel with these words: “Monsieur Perdu calls himself a literary apothecary. From his floating bookstore in a barge on the Seine, he prescribes novels for the hardships of life. Using his intuitive feel for the exact book a reader needs, Perdu mends broken hearts and souls. The only person he can’t seem to heal through literature is himself; he’s still haunted by heartbreak after his great love disappeared. She left him with only a letter, which he has never opened.
“After Perdu is finally tempted to read the letter, he hauls anchor and departs on a mission to the south of France, hoping to make peace with his loss and discover the end of the story. Joined by a bestselling but blocked author and a lovelorn Italian chef, Perdu travels along the country’s rivers, dispensing his wisdom and his books, showing that the literary world can take the human soul on a journey to heal itself.”
The way that this book is written is stunning, whether author Nina George is writing about books, scenery or her characters, without the snobbery that often comes through in books written about literature. Books from every genre are mentioned throughout the novel, without saying that one is better than another, simply saying that some books are not meant for everyone, which is something that resonated with me.
However, I felt that this book kind of meandered around its point for a while, and although it was good for character development, I thought that it maybe wasn’t all entirely necessary. Some of the meandering felt like filler to me, which I didn’t necessarily dislike, but wasn’t my favorite.
The book begins with a map and ends with Perdu’s literary prescriptions, to be taken in “easily digested doses (between five and fifty pages) unless indicated and if possible, with warm feet and/or a cat on your lap.” In between, there is a tale woven from pieces of Monsier Perdu’s life, the diary of a woman we come to know, and his letters to Catherine.
I’m giving this book a four star rating out of five, because of the meandering.
However, I still really enjoyed it. I got this book as an uncorrected ARC from Netgalley, so I know just the person to give this book to when it comes out tomorrow! I honestly can’t wait to share it with them. I hope that you find the right person for this novel, too!